Christendom in the 16th Century

16TH CENTURY EUROPE


In the 16th Century, the average person only lived to be forty years old.

The humanists at the forefront of the Renaissance saw themselves as descendants of the Roman Empire. They venerated Constantine and Charlemagne. They saw their movement as a rebirth of civilization; a departure from what was seen as the “slumber” of the Middle Ages. They denigrated the immediate past as "Gothic." They fused faith and philosophy, and they pondered the questions: What is life for? What is man's duty? What is to be his destiny? What is reality?

Italy, with its great cities and universities, led the way to advanced ideas about science, law, and business; and a new regard for elegance, manners, and cuisine. Italy was the mother of high culture.

Spain was the second most advanced nation in the 16th Century, though it would later be supplanted by France, which in turn was surpassed by England. Finally, the United States would become the most advanced country on Earth.

Consider the words "human" and "inhuman." We attribute to the former the things we approve of, the good things. But in fact, cruelty, murder, and massacre are decidedly "human."

FLORENCE DURING THE TIME OF THE MEDICI
FLORENCE DURING THE TIME OF THE MEDICI
PAGE FROM VIRGIL PRINTED IN 1501 BY ALDUS MANUTIUS
PAGE FROM VIRGIL PRINTED IN 1501 BY ALDUS MANUTIUS

BOOKS

 

In Venice, around 1500, we find the inventive printer Aldus Manutius. For a hundred years the printing firm he founded produced the very best Greek and Latin classic books. Innovations came in such as punctuation, capital letters, uniform spelling, and the spacing that makes words, sentences, and paragraphs stand out as units of meaning.

In England, the wealthy merchant William Caxton set up a printing house that provided the English with the best extant books and contributed heavily to the standardization of the language. The redesigning of letters created a new art called typography. To a connoisseur, a book can be dated by its typeface.

Books were considered works of art, with high regard for beauty and masterful illustrations. Printers and booksellers oft times published scandalous books because they learned that they sell briskly. The proliferation of books weakened the individual and collective memory, and sparked specialization of intellectual pursuits.

"Among the natural wonders, the first and rarest is that I was born in this century when the Earth was explored, while the ancients barely knew more than a third of it.... Knowledge has expanded. What could be more wonderful than.... the invention of the printing press, conceived by the minds of men, created with their hands, and able to rival divine miracles? What's left for us but to take possession of the skies?"

Gerolamo Cardano (1501-1576)

FLORENCE DURING THE RENAISSANCE
FLORENCE DURING THE RENAISSANCE
RENAISSANCE MUSIC
RENAISSANCE MUSIC
RENAISSANCE ARTISAN
RENAISSANCE ARTISAN
"THE ARTIST" BY JAN VERMEER
"THE ARTIST" BY JAN VERMEER
GIORGIO VASARI SELF PORTRAIT
GIORGIO VASARI SELF PORTRAIT
STUDY OF PERSPECTIVE BY LEONARDO
STUDY OF PERSPECTIVE BY LEONARDO
ART CRITIC
ART CRITIC

RENAISSANCE ART, ARTISTS, ARTISANS

Prior to the 16th Century, guilds of artisans kept the tricks of their trades secret; they guarded them as valuable property, similar to the patents and copyrights of today. Alchemists and astrologers also competed with secret knowledge used for gainful ends. The new individualism saw the decline of guilds, and more people used talents rather than secrets to make their services valuable. In fact, many published manuals to publicize their techniques. In view of this, we see the rise of a new social type: the artist. The artist was not a performer of common tasks, but a free, innovative, and uncommon creator.

The Italian Giorgio Vasari, wrote biographies of the master artists of the Renaissance. He describes more than facts and dates; he makes us appreciate what set these men apart. He describes the techniques involved, the new science of perspective, geometrical rules, the best way to grind pigments, and proper handling of apprentices. Strikingly, he claims that great art can only be created by great artists and that a great artist must be virtuous, with true faith in God and strict morals. Art reveals an artist's soul. Good soul, good art. Hundreds of years later these ideas were cast aside, and neither art nor artists are expected to be moral or virtuous any longer. Today, breaking rules has become the true test of art.

Perspective is based on the fact that we have two eyes and see objects defined by two lines of sight that converge. These two lines form an angle, and geometry can show the size and place that any object at any distance must be given in a painting to make it appear as it appears in real life. The artists of the Renaissance learned the value of the geometrical system and the way in which it could be used to give the appearance of reality. They learned about horizon lines and vanishing points; they were able to problem solve because of their extensive knowledge in the laws of perspective and proportion. An example would be Leonardo da Vinci’s Perspective Study for the Adoration of the Magi, in which he constructed perspective using the lines formed by the floor tiles.

All art forms are most fruitful at their genesis, when the idea is more important than technique. As knowledge grows exact, originality declines. Perfection increases but inspiration decreases. This can be seen even in rock and roll or jazz music. The original innovators were not as competent as those who learned from them. The innovators show more individual character, those who follow more virtuosity.

When we think of the Renaissance we think of the great ones, the geniuses. But there was a large crowd of highly gifted and talented people who've since been long forgotten. It was simply a great artistic period, a clustering of great minds. It is a mystery.

Aesthetic appreciation is more than spontaneous liking. A good eye is not enough. One must be able to talk about style, technique, and originality. Thus, another new social type was born: the critic. A critic is an expert. The critic separates himself from the unknowing, who only know what they like. Critics and connoisseurs came to dictate fashion and taste, by purchase or utterance. In the 16th Century highbrow meant religious or historical painting, which edified, reminded, and decorated. Portraits were a notch below, and landscapes down another rung. The goal of all artists was beauty.

The latest technique in painting involved using pigments carried in oils. Michelangelo scorned this new trick as only fit for women and children, because the amateur or inept professional could easily correct their mistakes. Before oils, artists painted on plaster walls, or panels of wood, requiring a far-seeing mind and infallible hand, as each stroke was final.

The Renaissance was about progress in outlook, behavior, language, manners, art, and science. The religious Reformers saw themselves in this same light. This outlook led to the modern idea that latest is the best. The individual artist or thinker came to be seen as extra-ordinary, and exempt from convention. The artisan gave way to the artist. The artisan was anonymous, the artist famous. Artisans were told by their customers what to produce; artists created what they wanted to create, in their own style.

RABELAIS
RABELAIS
MONTAIGNE
MONTAIGNE

THE RENAISSANCE MAN

 

What is a Renaissance man? Today that may be a brain surgeon who is well read, can play the violin, and sail a boat. But in the Renaissance such a man would be a noted thinker, builder, painter, poet, playwright, musician, and writer. The example most often given is Leonardo. He was an artist, scientist, and engineer. But his machines did not work, he did not write, he was not a philosopher or theologian, he was not a musician. In fact he disdained music because as soon as a musical piece was over it was gone, unless one did it again.

Martin Luther is a more appropriate Renaissance man. He was a great writer, speaker, musician, theologian, and naturalist. Machiavelli, Michelangelo, and even Savonarola qualify. A Renaissance man is a jack of all trades. He is not defined by genius, which is rare, but by being a proficient amateur in a wide range of interests. A Renaissance man can fashion verse; act; sing; dance gracefully; play music; have good taste in art; be familiar with architecture, history, philosophy, and politics; be refined in manners and conversation; be capable of combat. In other words, he is the exact opposite of a specialist.

Rabelais (1494-1553) was a professor of medicine and astrology who studied biology. He publicly performed dissections of the human body in France, and created treatments for broken bones and hernias. He mastered Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, on the way to becoming the most learned man of his time.

Montaigne (1533-1592) famously stated that we are not human beings but becoming humans. He invented the term "the human condition." He had a servant gently awake him each morning by softly playing a flute. At the time, a professional author (even more so a playwright) was neither considered an honorable trade for a gentleman, nor an art form.

Rich and beautiful music was composed during the 16th Century, which for the first time included harmony and polyphony, and saw the advent of the professional lyricist. In earlier times, a troubadour sang his own songs to his own strumming. The first orchestra was formed in 1470, and soon to follow was the concert (playing together), and the opera.

During the Renaissance the word comedy referred to any type of play, the vast majority of which were dramas. These plays did not provoke laughter.

COPERNICUS
COPERNICUS

SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION

 

The Scientific Revolution is generally held to have to have taken place from 1550 to 1650, focused on astronomy.  This focus led to great advances in auxiliary sciences such as mathematics, physics, and optics.  The Scientific Revolution changed the view of human nature and the human predicament for the learned classes, though the masses continued to be absorbed by magic, astronomy, and alchemy.  Francis Bacon (1561-1626) is considered the father of the scientific method.  Copernicus (1473-1543) of Poland discovered that the Earth revolved around the Sun, rather than vice versa. 

THE ESTATES
THE ESTATES

ESTATES NOT CLASSES

 

Europeans in the 16th Century did not think in terms of class, as we do today.  Society was divided according to estates (social orders).  Social groups were divided by functions, privileges, restrictions, and institutions; rather than assets or income.  Heredity was the main determining factor as to what estate one would belong.  The descendants of medieval knights inherited lands and titles of nobility given to their ancestors for military service to the Kings of Europe, which became an obsolete system once standing armies became the norm. 

THE PROFESSIONAL SPANISH ARMY
THE PROFESSIONAL SPANISH ARMY

STANDING ARMIES

 

The combination of pike and musket required professionally trained soldiers, with a salaried career officer corps to lead them, due to all of the changes in technology and strategy.  Military academies were founded to teach the arts of warfare and soldiering.  Massed artillery came to the fore during the 16th Century, and cannons rendered the old castles and forts obsolete.  Warships changed from troop transports to floating gun platforms. The revolution in military technology led to the modern state.

The most famous infantry belonged to Spain.  The foot soldier had become the most decisive force in battle, over the warrior on horseback.  The word "infantry" means "small foot soldier" derived from the word "infant." 

STATUE OF MACHIAVELLI IN FLORENCE
STATUE OF MACHIAVELLI IN FLORENCE

THE MODERN STATE

 

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), a historian and diplomat, wrote The Prince in 1513.  He was an advocate of limited government and the Rule of Law, but had a low view of human nature.  Machiavelli posited that the most successful rulers separated moral scruples from politics. 

Machiavelli famously said, "War should be the only study of a prince.  He should look upon peace only as a breathing space which gives him the means to execute military plans."  He also said, "The nearer people are to the Church of Rome, the more irreligious they are." 

The power and wealth of a country depended on gold reserves, and this depended on exporting more goods than a country imported (having a favorable balance of trade).  As Thomas Mun wrote, "The ordinary means to increase our wealth and treasure is by Foreign Trade, wherein we must ever observe this rule: to sell more to strangers yearly than we consume of theirs in value.

The rise of nation states was accompanied by the rise in the appointment of resident ambassadors, who supplied commercial and political intelligence to their governments.  Diplomats soon gained a reputation for deception, such as using secret codes and invisible ink.  Sir Henry Wooten said, "An ambassador is an honest man sent to lie abroad for the good of his country." 

The 16th Century saw the rise of the remarkable Habsburg family, achieved not by conquest but by matrimonial schemes. 

MADRID IN 1561
MADRID IN 1561

MADRID SPAIN

 

Madrid was a sleepy little village before the 16th Century.  In 1540, Emperor Charles V, forty years old and afflicted with gout and malaria, moved there in the hopes that the brisk breezes would improve his health.  Madrid was not an attractive town.  Its 3,000 residents lived with the poor soil, lack of trees, and a shortage of water (not being on a river).  Pigs ran wild in the muddy, garbage-strewn streets.  The population would increase to 30,000 within 25 years of the arrival of the emperor. 

Charles V was an honorable, chivalrous man who loved God and hated greed.  He was the grandson of Ferdinand and Isabella.  His Holy Roman Empire dominated Europe from the Netherlands to Italy, twenty times the size of the area once controlled by the ancient Roman Empire. 

1625 THALER
1625 THALER

MONEY

 

In 1518, Count von Schlick was granted an imperial patent to mine silver in Bohemia and establish a mint there.  His coins were known as thalers (valleys)—dollars in English—and were soon the accepted currency throughout most of Europe.

The 16th Century saw the first experience of people with inflation.  Grain cost seven times as much in 1600 as it had in 1500.  This happened because of a population explosion, which caused the amount of available land to shrink, raising land values and rents.  In the year 1500, there were only five cities in Europe with 100,000 people but by 1600 there were fourteen (Constantinople, Naples, Venice, Milan, Paris, Rome, Palermo, Messina, Marseilles, Lisbon, Seville, Antwerp, Amsterdam, and Moscow).  Peasants were leaving the countryside to move into cities, but wages lagged behind prices and beggars were ubiquitous.  In order to pay for the new standing armies, governments sharply increased taxes in the 16th Century.  Trade and industry expanded, not the least for production of armaments. 

1562 MAP OF THE NEW WORLD
1562 MAP OF THE NEW WORLD
CORTES THE CONQUISTADOR
CORTES THE CONQUISTADOR
THE NOBLE SAVAGE AT PLAY
THE NOBLE SAVAGE AT PLAY
I GOT YER NOBLE SAVAGE
I GOT YER NOBLE SAVAGE
CANNIBALS WERE NOT QUITE AS SOPHISTICATED AS THE EUROPEANS (THEY DIDN'T HAVE CUTLERY)
CANNIBALS WERE NOT QUITE AS SOPHISTICATED AS THE EUROPEANS (THEY DIDN'T HAVE CUTLERY)
PLEASE MR CUSTER, I DON'T WANT TO GO
PLEASE MR CUSTER, I DON'T WANT TO GO
BARTHOLOMEW DE LAS CASAS
BARTHOLOMEW DE LAS CASAS
OH YEA, THEY SCALPED WOMEN TOO
OH YEA, THEY SCALPED WOMEN TOO

THE NEW WORLD

It is false that Europeans thought the Earth was flat. Anybody with a lick of sense had known since 500 B.C. that Earth was round. It was just a lot bigger than most thought. In 1522, the expedition of Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan circumnavigated the globe, proving beyond a doubt the spherical shape of Earth, and that the Americas lay between the great oceans, the Pacific and the Atlantic.

The Portuguese were the first colonizers, claiming Brazil in 1500 and Indonesia in 1511.

Spain, with its conquistadors, settled Cuba in 1511; conquered the Aztecs of Mexico in 1520 under Hernando Cortez (1485-1547); settled Central America in the 1530s; conquered the Incas of Peru in 1532 under Francisco Pizarro (1476-1541); and founded St Augustine, Florida in 1565.

France got into the act with the founding of Montreal in 1536 by Jacques Cartier (1491-1557). But Spain dominated the Atlantic Ocean.

The colonists from Spain surely committed atrocities, but it is ridiculous to blame Christopher Columbus for them. It is also fantasy to believe in the "Noble Savage" myth—that the Indians Columbus encountered were peace loving, harmoniously living peoples. The Caribs were on those islands because they had annihilated the Anawaks whose islands these had been before them. The Aztecs had wiped out an entire civilization before Cortez wiped them out. Most tribes lived in perpetual warfare. The Iroquois, and others, had slaves. The story of conquest in the New World is the same story that has played out around the planet since the most ancient of days.

The Noble Savage myth circulated around Europe in the 16th Century. Stories were told about the Indians of the Americas, in which they were free of the sins of Europeans, wonderfully natural and fearless, completely healthy, with impeccable manners. Actually the myths about the Indians mirrored the myths about the Germanic tribes believed in Rome 1500 years earlier. The unspoiled natural man. The Noble Savage that we ought to regress to.

In the decade of the 1590s alone, three million grams of gold and nineteen millions grams of silver were shipped from the New World to Spain. New Staple foods such as corn, potatoes, and turkey were introduced to Europe from these expeditions, as well as exotic products such as tomatoes, sugar, coffee, cocoa, pepper, and tobacco; forever changing the palate and diet of Europeans. The Europeans introduced horses to the New World, as well as firearms and smallpox. They took syphilis back to Europe with them. European settlers braved deprivation, hardship, and hostile Indians. They also inflicted genocidal casualties on the native population. It was a conquest. 95% of the Native Americans were gone by 1550, mostly dead from disease.

Those countries in the West of Europe, with access to the sea, were changed forever by their intercourse with the New World. Those in the East of Europe preoccupied themselves with themselves.

Along with conquistadors, Franciscan and Dominican missionaries came to the New World by the score. By 1530, Mexico had bishops and a single pair of Franciscans had baptized 200,000 Indians. These friars firmly believed themselves to be doing God's work, by teaching the heathen about the Lord. They also abhorred the treatment that the natives were subjected to by the conquistadors. In 1511, the Dominican Antonio de Montesinos protested to the Spanish rulers, "You are in mortal sin for your cruel oppression of these innocent people. Tell me; by what right do you keep them in such cruel and horrible servitude? Are they not human beings? Do they not have rational souls? Are you not obliged to love them as you love yourselves? How is it that you sleep so soundly?"

The first great advocate of human rights may have been the Dominican priest, Bartholomew de las Casas. He launched a campaign for justice in 1514 by writing about the enslavement of Native Americans, the squalor in which they were kept, the atrocities and massacres by the Spanish, from killing babies for bets to live burials. He participated in an official debate about these matters in 1550, at which his opponent quoted Aristotle that "some races were naturally inferior to others and therefore rightly their slaves." Las Casas insisted that "no people are so primitive that they could not be civilized if taught with love, gentleness and kindness."

By 1550, the Portuguese had bought 150,000 African slaves and shipped them to Brazil and the Caribbean to work on sugar plantations.

Portuguese explorers had also reached southern India and were surprised to find Christian churches there, and maybe 10,000 Christians who traced their origins back to the Apostle Thomas, confirming ancient stories that he had evangelized there.

The founder of the Jesuits, St Francis Xavier, went further, traveling to Japan and baptized 10,000 Japanese in one month of 1542.

SCALPED BY NOBLE SAVAGE AND LIVED TO TELL ABOUT IT
SCALPED BY NOBLE SAVAGE AND LIVED TO TELL ABOUT IT
WELCOME WAGON
WELCOME WAGON
UTOPIA
UTOPIA

UTOPIA

The Utopia craze was started by Sir Thomas More and later followed by many other writers.

These writers envisioned a world where everybody shared everything, essentially a Communist society without class distinctions.

The catch is that everybody in these envisioned societies was also healthy, hard-working, kind, virtuous, prayerful, lovers of God, and good-looking.

WATKINS COAT OF ARMS FROM WALES
WATKINS COAT OF ARMS FROM WALES

SURNAMES

 

European Kings of the 16th Century, starting in France and England, demanded that people declare, or be assigned, a surname.  As populations grew and became more mobile, there came to be too many people named James, John, and Mary.  Some adopted nicknames they already had, such as Bright, Smart, or Stout.   Some took surnames based on where they lived, such as Hill or Woods.  Many created a surname from their fathers' names, as in Johnson, Thompson, or Watson.  My name came from the clan (kin) of Wat—Watkins.  Many adapted the name of their trade: Fuller, Carter, Smith, Marshall, Draper, or Miller. 

NOSTRADAMUS
NOSTRADAMUS

NOSTRADAMUS

Nostradamus (1503-1566) was a physician, magician, occultist, psychic, writer, and of all things—a beautician. His first book was Treatise on Make-up.

To prepare this article I used the following books: From Dawn to Decadence by Jacques Barzun; and Europe by Norman Davies.


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Comments 74 comments

Moonchild60 profile image

Moonchild60 6 years ago

What a wonderful Hub James...the books, the art, the extensive research!! I loved all the information. It was wonderful...I sound like I am gushing, but I just enjoyed this one SO much!! My ancestors came here from England in the 1630's, the Westcotts of Devonshire. One of the founders of Rhode Island. Have no idea where it originated from. Thank you James!! Oh, I am also Mohawk, so my sinless ancestors were clearly infected by sinful ones.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

Impressive overview...history brings up amazing questions. How indeed did they (and do we) sleep so soundly?! Your series is valuable to those of us who do not take the time to read from Dawn to Decadence (of all things). :) Thanks.


EnLydia Listener 6 years ago

James, that was a thoroughly enjoyable and informational read...wow!

I did enjoy and chuckle over the caveman drawing...does that indicate my intelligence level? (maybe I shouldn't have mentioned that)

I like the way you presented all those facts, because it draws together how and why things happen in history.


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

I am very impressed with this descriptive travel to such a wonderful and rich history. Your doing a great justice to the RENAISSANCE and beautifully written and created the

Christendom in the 16th Century Hub! thanks and peace :)


lancelonie profile image

lancelonie 6 years ago

Interesting hub! Very cool!

Thanks for sharing! :)


Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 6 years ago from HubPages, FB

James, again great education.

Thanks.


RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

James, this hub is absolutely unbelievable. It brought to life 16th century history in a way only you could master. It offers us a comprehensive and lucid record of Renaissance literature, key issues and figures and seemingly, everything in between.

And, to top it all, you were successful in adding just the right images to give us a greater sense of the times under consideration. Phenomenal!

Thank you for the education.

Forever His,


stars439 profile image

stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

This hub is a work of art in itself. So much information in it. Your work must be read ,in most cases, many times in order for so much knowledge to sink in. We are more informed because of your dedication to good writing.God Bless dear friend.


"Quill" 6 years ago

Well written as always and filled with so much information of our history...I have bookmarked this one as I have all your writing...excellent reference material James...

Blessings


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Moonchild60— Thank you very much for being my first visitor! I am pleased that you appreciate the amount of time I put into this article. :D

I am a quarter Cherokee myself, so I can empathize with you. I'm not sure I have any Blueblood as you do though. I am very happy to read your laudatory remarks. Thank you, my dear, for your graciousness.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

RTalloni— I tried to include the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. But not to engage in European bashing as is popular these days. Thank you for visiting and commenting. And you are welcome. By the way—Dawn to Decadence is a fantastic book!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

EnLydia Listener— I am fascinated with the Why and How of history. I am so glad that you enjoyed it and appreciated the presentation. Thank you! :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

katiem2— You are welcome. It is gratifying to me that you are impressed and complimented my writing. Thank you for coming by and leaving your warm words :)


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

wow.. you know your subject, James. Nicely done.


Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

I can't believe how much content you've got here.......... I'm going to have to print this series out one day :-D

What can I possibly say that I haven't said before.............. everything you publish gives me something extra to take to work with me (well, not everything ;-) ............ the kids love it. I especially like the section on the New World. It's nice to see it written the way it was............. every new version of textbooks is published with an extra coating of sugar, and history isn't sweet....... it's actually quite bitter sometimes!

The truth and nothing but the truth............. what is it that makes the truth so bad? Why don't we want our children to hear it? Why do textbooks change history and why do we let them? What is so politically incorrect about telling it the way it was? Thank you for doing what so many are afraid of................. oh, and I love the "welcome wagon," I'd like to hang that photo on my front door! You made me laugh!

Kaie


katyzzz profile image

katyzzz 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Great hub and wonderful pictures, you certainly do more than your fair share around here.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Why is my Welcon Waggn blanked out? James what have you got in there? I only repeat what I have said before and everybody else is saying. A great research, well done, and a fantastically written hub. Another Masterpiece. Thank you very much for an enjoyable read.


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago

Until now, there was only one person who could sustain my interest in the study of history. That was my high school AP History teacher, and to some extent I was compelled by the grading system and my own perfectionism. He was able to make the topic relevant to the present, as you have done here. He also had a passion for the subject which came across in his lessons. Your passion is also clear. Who would read Dawn to Decadence without a passion?! Thank you so much for helping me expand my horizons a bit. Hmmm. Am I in danger of becoming a Renaissance man?!


billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

An excellent resource and loved all the pictures.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

lancelonie— Thank you! Thank you very much. And you are welcome.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Vladimir Uhri— You are welcome, my brother. Thank you for reading and leaving behind your kind words for me to see.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

RevLady— You're welcome, my dear. I cannot express how thankful I am to read your laudatory comments in regard to my article. Gosh, this makes me happy this morning, in an ineffable way. God Bless You.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

stars439— Thank you, my brother, for this high praise indeed. You always come 'round and lift my spirits. How glad I am to see your name in my inbox. God Bless You!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

"Quill"— I am flattered by the bookmarks, Brother. Thank you ever much for taking the time to read my work. I appreciate your gracious spirit.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

carolina muscle— Thank you, my friend, for your kind comments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Kaie Arwen— There's my Kaie! :D

When I finish this series, I may have to put it into a book, as a collection of factual photographic essays (the word means to try).

The Truth is not in vogue.

When that Welcome Wagon came to my door I had to ask, "Who were these folks?" The answer was, "Our previous neighbors."

Thanks for your tremendous affirmation and encouragement.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

katyzzz— I'm trying to carry that weight! :D

Thank you for visiting and commenting.


lovemychris profile image

lovemychris 6 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

So this is what a hub is supposed to be! lol.

LOVED this. Everything about it is perfect.


iantoPF profile image

iantoPF 6 years ago from Sunny California

James i don't know how you do it. Anyone can be prolific, but to write with such consistency and fluency with a careful regard for the subject matter and so well researched. It's truly amazing. Though I'm tempted to think that you were given more hours in the day than the rest of us. The truth is that you are an awesome writer and educator.

I continue to read your work with admiration.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Hello, hello,— I don't know. The "Welcome Wagon" photo is on my screen. That's strange. Thank you so much for your glorious accolades. I truly appreciate your support. And you are quite welcome, too.


Kaie Arwen profile image

Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

A photographic essay sounds great, oh, but wait....Essay- "to make an effort or attempt," and would you like to hear my definition? :-P

No, the truth is not in vogue, but it doesn't stop us from trying teach the truth. We do that you know?

Other than that, do I need to remind you how tough it is living under this rock? The welcome wagon; they live next door; rocks have their advantages! :-D


Joshua Kell profile image

Joshua Kell 6 years ago from Arizona

Thanks James. I truly loved this article. Great work!


gusripper profile image

gusripper 6 years ago

If you put out the colonies in America,or Africa and the ways that Europe committed some genocides ,the century was the best in history of art.My personal opinion.


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

A very good read, as always. I know you must have more history from this time, and I encourage you to write more about this important century.


Cinderella1248 profile image

Cinderella1248 6 years ago

Just passing by to say hi.

Wow what a hub...


Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

Hello, James. Once again another great historical lesson. I loved reading about the difference between now and then. History holds so many keys to how we live today and I am glad you see the value in it. It is always evident in your writing; the passion you hold for days gone by. Thanks for an excellent hub! Loved the pictures!


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James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

kimh039— You are welcome. In fact, there were Renaissance Women. I almost included a section on them but my article was too long and I had to leave a lot on the cutting room floor. I'm glad you told me about that teacher. I had a couple great teachers who changed my interest in learning in general and I am indebted to them. Thank you so much for your kind compliments. :-)


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James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

billyaustindillon— Thank you for saying so. I'm glad the pics worked for you.


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James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

lovemychris— I am grateful that you let me know you loved my work. Thank you for the laudations! :D


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James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

iantoPF— I must say that your remarks have buoyed my spirits and brought a smile to my face. I so appreciate your high praise indeed. It is comments such as yours that make writing Hubs worthwhile to me. Thank you.


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James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Kaie Arwen— Are you sticking your tongue out at me? :)

Oh, you are a funny girl. Thank you for making me laugh—and think. I always love to see your face. :D


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James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Joshua Kell— You're welcome, brother. I'm glad you loved my article. Thank you for letting me know!


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James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

gusripper— Thank you for offering your opinion. I agree with you. I appreciate the visit and the comments, my friend.


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James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

sheila b.— Thank you for your kind compliments. I'll do what I can! :D


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James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Cinderella1248— Thank you! Thank you very much.


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James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Ann Nonymous— Hello! I'm glad you enjoyed reading my work. You are welcome and thank you for coming! :-)


LisaG profile image

LisaG 6 years ago from Caribbean

Very interesting and well researched. I will bookmark it for my studies.


HealthyHanna profile image

HealthyHanna 6 years ago from Utah

I love these hubs. I never knew what I never knew about this subject. ...but I am finding I am very interested in the subject. It gives modern-day life a new perspective to me.


Amber Allen profile image

Amber Allen 6 years ago

Hi James

Yet another masterpiece packed full of fact upon fact. Incredible! Amber:)


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James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

LisaG— Thank you so much for your warm words. I appreciate the visit and the comments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

HealthyHanna— I'm sure glad you love my work. Thank you for taking the time to read my articles. I appreciate the positive feedback.


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James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Amber Allen— I surely am well pleased to read your laudatory remarks. Thank you for making my day! :-)

James


cosette 6 years ago

once again, you blow me away with your meticulous research and exceptonal writing. i think i am out of words at the moment, so i will just rate this UP.

- a fan ;)


secularist10 profile image

secularist10 6 years ago from New York City

James, very cool article--quite a whirlwind tour. I definitely learned a few new things. Not sure I buy the part about people believing the earth was round since 500 BC, though. Clearly, by the 1500s it was obvious, but half a millennium before Christ? Where can I find more info on that?


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James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

cosette— Thank you for rating my article "UP." I so appreciate your valued friendship on HubPages. Your writing is the best. :D


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James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

secularist10— Well, all learned Greeks in 500 BC knew the Earth was round. Ptolemy drew the Earth as round way back. Sure, there was a peasant myth that the Earth was flat and you should not venture far away from home lest you fall of the edge but nobody I can find among writers in any age believed or wrote as such.


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Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

James,

Another great chapter of your history lesson. I thank for your effort and the good result. I leaned a great deal in my reading of your lesson. I also found out the origin of the reason for the saying "There's nothing new under the sun."


Allan McGregor profile image

Allan McGregor 6 years ago from South Lanarkshire

Applause James, because I am quite lost for words on this one. Concise as ever and packed with juicy nuggets. They just seem to get better and better.

Round earth? - Of course, everybody believed that from antiquity. The Flat Earth thing was a joke caricature that got mistaken as a real belief.

Certainly, the prophet Isaiah knew the earth was round, since Isaiah 40:21-23 says: 'Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he who sits on the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in; who brings the rulers to nothing; he makes the judges of the earth as vanity.'

And in the oldest book of the Bible, Job 26:7 declares: 'He stretches out the north over the empty place, and he hung the earth on nothing.'

As for the Greeks, they measured the earth's circumference with some degree of accuracy by trigonometry, as I think it was Aristotle who deduced that the earth was spherical by observing that as ships sail towards shore over the horizon, their masts become visible before their hulls, from which it is obvious that the earth's surface must be curved.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Tom Whitworth— You are welcome, brother. I'm going to take a break for a while. I'll see you in a couple weeks. Thank you for your ongoing encouragement, which is much appreciated.


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 6 years ago

James A Watkins, Brilliant narrative on Christendom of the 16th century professor! You really do a superb job! I know that I can always look forward to a thorough concise account of historical value when I read one of your articles! They are informative, instructive, educational as well as delightful! You are able to take a serious, multifarious subject matter and captivate a diverse audience! There is no doubt that you enjoy history it profusely shines through! You have such an incredible gift!

Thank you for sharing as always great job or should I say class? In His love, Peace & Blessings!


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James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Allan McGregor— Thank you for the applause!!

I had failed to recognize that the Scriptures you quoted detailed a spherical Earth. That is a great point you have made, Brother. Every time you leave comments on my articles they are simply fantastic. I continue to trumpet this: You are the most learned man on HubPages. Thank you my friend.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

A wonderful Hub and a thoroughly enjoyable read. I found it very instructive. Of course the Portuguese explorers who reached southern India had done so by rounding the southernmost tip of Africa, setting the stage for the colonisation of what later became Angola, Namibia, South Africa and Mocambique, among others.

The Dutch followed the Portuguese some years later, starting the European settlement in South Africa in the mid-17th Century.

Thanks for the interesting read.

Love and peace

Tony


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

DeBorrah K. Ogans— Thank you, my dear! It feels good to receive your laudations! Your comments are most gratifying. I always look forward to hearing from you. Peace and Blessings to you! And you are welcome.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

tonymac04— Thank you for saying so, brother Tony. Yes, you nailed it—Diaz and Vasco da Gama coming round the Cape of Good Hope, charting a course for India. I appreciate you taking the time to read my piece and comment.

Love and peace to you

James


Cathi Sutton profile image

Cathi Sutton 6 years ago

I sincerely enjoyed reading this historic timeline of events, and the look at some of the very important players in those events.

Most of the people you referred to are somewhat familiar to me. But I am now very curious about the Habsburg family. I've never heard of them before. So I will have to go do some research, and find out what makes them remarkable!

Thank you for giving me this new interest. I have always loved history, and enjoy finding new things to study.

I am never disappointed after reading your Hubs, and appreciate so much that you take the time to write them, and share with us fellow Hubbers! So, needless to say, I look forward to the publication of your book!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Cathi Sutton— I am truly pleased that you enjoyed this article. The Habsburgs ruled for 600 years and half of that time ruled the majority of lands in Europe. I love history, too. I am glad to find a kindred spirit. Thank you very much for your gracious accolades. And you are most welcome.


mystic amy profile image

mystic amy 6 years ago

Hello James, I enjoyed your article on 16th century Christendom. It would be even more interesting if you included why it was indeed referred to as Christendom and explore the religious reformation that was, and maybe still is, changing and simultaneously affecting the political and economic trends of Europe and the New World. I enjoy history as well and found your article (s) enjoyable. Thank you,

Amy


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

mystic amy— Hi! I'm glad you enjoyed my article. I love history! I am glad you are a kindred spirit. This Hub is an offshoot from my ongoing series about the History of Christianity and Christendom. One of the more recent articles is:

http://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Renaissanc

Thank you, Amy, for visiting and commenting. And you are welcome.

James


Madame X 6 years ago

Very interesting James. You've covered so much ground here that I don't know what to comment on. So since critics have always burned me up I'll start there. I recommend an essay by Wassily Kandinski called "Naked and Half Naked" - a wry commentary on the nature of critics. I applaud you for leveling the playing field regarding "the noble savage". I get so sick of all the PC crap floating around. Great hub - as usual :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Madame X— What a pleasure to hear from you! I will read that essay shortly. Thanks for the tip. I appreciate your kudos, my learned friend.


Madame X 6 years ago

James - I just heard an interesting saying that is somewhat a commentary on critics et al - "those who know, do; those who half know, criticize; those who know not, teach"

Just thought you'd find that amusing :)


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James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Madame X— That is interesting and amusing. Except for maybe teachers. :-)


christopher 5 years ago

to much reading to doooooooooo


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James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

christopher— I know!! Now get to it. Thanks for coming.

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